Autumn is a beautiful time of the year as we feel its crispness evaporate the heat of summer and re-vitalize our energy. But as everything in life has its downside, so does the coming of autumn.  With the change of seasons, we start to hear the coughing, stories of colds and fever, and even the flu presenting itself well before the cold of winter.  Autumn is a time then to look to boost our immune system, and help fend off and reduce the length of an illness.

Our bodies have an amazing immune system that starts in the stomach, where acid is housed and can burn off bacteria and viruses before they get to us.  Some slip through, of course, and then the white blood cells are called into action to gobble them up in record time.

Stress, whether physical an/or emotional, can compromise our immune system along with low levels of vitamin D, which many people have, especially those sun-deprived.  Vitamin D plays a key role the immune system and many doctors are now recommending D3 supplementation.

But can you stimulate the immune system in any way, and give it a jump-start and even maintain it at or near a level as nature has intended it?  The answer is yes says Mr. Gu, whose name should be Mr. Guru for all of his wealth of knowledge on organ stimulation for different physical conditions.  His website at guexercise.com is well worth a visit.

I was introduced to Mr. Gu’s exercises by one of his students, Ken Gray, who teaches qigong and tai chi in New York City, and is familiar with the health benefits of organ stimulation.  Here are a handful of exercises that practiced for a few minutes each (four or five times daily) will work toward boosting the immune system.  They are simple and basic, but focused in design.

Let’s start with the thymus gland just behind the collar bone. This is where T-cells that fight infections are made.  What you want to do is pound the area fast and slow for a few minutes, which if done regularly protect against invading infections.  Remember five times a day to really get and keep things going.

We can also stretch the thymus gland by bending our arms at the elbows, holding them alongside our body with our fists facing up and repeatedly pulling them out to the side.  It is a chest stretch as well.

Another route is to stimulate the bone marrow because this is where white blood cells that fight infection are made. The best place for stimulation is the thigh bone – the largest bone in the body.  Here we want to stimulate the middle part of the thigh by leaning against it on a chair, and then bouncing it on it for one or two minutes.  We are not actually sitting down on the chair.

The last immune-boosting exercise is done immediately after, where sitting down on a chair, we beat the center of the thigh with our fists, fast and slow, much the same way that we stimulated the thymus gland. This will allow the marrow to produce the white blood cells that we need, and should be done for two to three minutes.

The idea is to get into a regulate routine here, which, of course, is hard due to our natural tendency to resist change.  But thinking about the potential immune system benefits down the road, hopefully, will override that resistance.

Before starting these exercises, consult your doctor on the side of caution, and watch the Dr. Gu’s immune exercise video that visually illustrates how to do them correctly – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y-Tqa8uYL7s.  Watching the video also will make what I have written come alive.

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” – Hippocrates

Photo: June Rousso, Central Park, October 2016